Posted on December 03 2014
Bardega: Can you tell us a little about yourself Bonita?
Norris: I am a mountaineer, I have successfully climbed 5 Himalayan peaks, including 3 mountains above 8000m (there are only 14 of them). I have also skied to the North Pole and I got to meet the Queen in recognition of my mountaineering endeavours. It's been a whirlwind few years since I started climbing when I was 20. I'm 27 now and climbing has slowed down as I now present extreme sports shows for Red Bull.
Bardega: And what's your background?
Norris: I had a very average upbringing in Wokingham which did not include any mountains. I went to Royal Holloway University and discovered climbing there. In 2010 I reached the summit of Mt Everest after just under 2 years of training.
Bardega: What are you up to at the moment?
Norris: I present the Red Bull Cliff Diving show on Dave (currently on Sundays at 6pm) and I climb lots still with my boyfriend! I also give talks in schools about my experiences of climbing Everest, I have visited about 70 schools this year so that keeps me busy!
Bardega: What do you consider your greatest achievements and what are your goals for the future?
Norris: My biggest achievement?! I don't feel like I've really achieved a great deal compared to the goals I have now. Breaking through barriers to get to Everest - such as raising £50,000 in sponsorship, was probably the hardest thing I've done. Climbing is still a male dominated sport; I felt I had to overcome a lot of sexism and misogyny and just a lot of people with limited beliefs who told me what I was doing was impossible. I felt confident enough to believe otherwise, and the truth is that Everest today is an achievable goal for any competent mountaineer with decent fitness.
Coming up, I have an expedition to the Himalayas planned and a new TV series in the process of (fingers crossed) getting commissioned.
Bardega: What inspires/motivates you?
Norris: That I'm going to die one day! It's really morbid isn't it?! I have this feeling all the time that I've got to live life to the full because I don't want to look back and regret being complacent about this incredible gift. I think our planet, the fact that we even exist, is awe inspiring, and to be a part of is something I hope I don't ever take for granted.
Bardega: What advice would you give a younger Bonita?
Norris: I would tell her to not take life so seriously and to have more fun with her friends. I would also tell her to be more efficient with her time and not so idle and lazy when I could have been doing all sorts of things!
@bonitanorris / Facebook.com/everestbonita